Interactive Map Shows Real-Time Reports of Baltimore's SSOs

The map gives the people of Baltimore, Maryland, a new way to keep track of what's happening with the sewers in their neighborhoods

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One common thread among forward-thinking utilities today is a drive to implement novel approaches to public outreach in an ongoing effort to keep citizens informed about sewer and water issues. Meanwhile, continued advancements in technology serve to fuel that ambition.

As a recent example, the Baltimore City (Maryland) Department of Public Works announced it is now posting all its sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) information online using an interactive map.

“This is showing real time the SSOs occurring throughout the city, Paul DeSantis, DPW’s Chief of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, tells WBFF News. “You’ll be informed as the public at the same time the Maryland Department of the Environment would.”

Blue Water Baltimore — an organization whose mission is to restore the quality of the city’s waterways to foster a healthy environment, a strong economy and thriving communities — is vocally supportive of the project. “We are really excited for that to become publicly available,” Executive Director Jenn Aiosa tells WBFF. “We have wanted more information available about when we are seeing infrastructure breaks, when we are seeing sewage overflow, when we are seeing these events, because we believe the public has a right to know what’s happening in their neighborhoods and whether or not they should stay away from the stream.”

The map will show when overflows are happening and mark where they’re occurring with a large red dot. It will also show what body of water it’s discharging to, and relay the estimated flow rate.

Meanwhile, a long-awaited $430 million improvement project at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant aims to reduce SSOs by 80 percent by 2021. The project is part of a consent decree and will include the installation of a well and a series of powerful pumps to improve sewage flow.



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